from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun Training expected to produce a specific character or pattern of behavior, especially training that produces moral or mental improvement.
  • noun Control obtained by enforcing compliance or order.
  • noun Controlled behavior resulting from disciplinary training; self-control.
  • noun A state of order based on submission to rules and authority.
  • noun Punishment intended to correct or train.
  • noun A set of rules or methods, as those regulating the practice of a church or monastic order.
  • noun A branch of knowledge or teaching.
  • transitive verb To train by instruction and practice, as in following rules or developing self-control: synonym: teach.
  • transitive verb To punish in order to gain control or enforce obedience. synonym: punish.
  • transitive verb To impose order on.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun Mental and moral training, either under one's own guidance or under that of another; the cultivation of the mind and formation of the manners; instruction and government, comprehending the communication of knowledge and the regulation of practice; specifically, training to act in accordance with rules; drill: as, military discipline; monastic discipline.
  • noun A set or system of rules and regulations; a method of regulating practice: as, the discipline prescribed for the church.
  • noun Specifically, ecclesiastical: The laws which bind the subjects of a church in their conduct, as distinguished from the dogmas or articles of faith which affect their belief.
  • noun The methods employed by a church for enforcing its laws, and so preserving its purity or its authority by penal measures against offenders. Three kinds of discipline were known to the ancient synagogue, all of which are entitled excommunication. In most modern Protestant churches discipline consists of three penalties: public censure, suspension, and excommunication.
  • noun Subjection to rule; submissiveness to control; obedience to rules and commands: as, the school was under good discipline.
  • noun Correction; chastisement; punishment inflicted by way of correction and training; hence, edification or correction by means of misfortune or suffering.
  • noun That which serves to instruct or train; specifically, a course of study; a science or an art.
  • noun An instrument of punishment; a scourge, or the like, used for religious penance. See disciplinarium.
  • To train or educate; prepare by instruction; specifically, to teach rules and practice, and accustom to order and subordination; drill: as, to discipline troops.
  • To correct; chastise; punish.
  • Specifically To execute the laws of a church upon (an offender).
  • To keep in subjection; regulate; govern.
  • Synonyms To train, form, educate, instruct, drill, regulate.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun The treatment suited to a disciple or learner; education; development of the faculties by instruction and exercise; training, whether physical, mental, or moral.
  • noun Training to act in accordance with established rules; accustoming to systematic and regular action; drill.
  • noun Subjection to rule; submissiveness to order and control; habit of obedience.
  • noun Severe training, corrective of faults; instruction by means of misfortune, suffering, punishment, etc.
  • noun Correction; chastisement; punishment inflicted by way of correction and training.
  • noun The subject matter of instruction; a branch of knowledge.
  • noun (Eccl.) The enforcement of methods of correction against one guilty of ecclesiastical offenses; reformatory or penal action toward a church member.
  • noun (R. C. Ch.) Self-inflicted and voluntary corporal punishment, as penance, or otherwise; specifically, a penitential scourge.
  • noun (Eccl.) A system of essential rules and duties.
  • transitive verb To educate; to develop by instruction and exercise; to train.
  • transitive verb To accustom to regular and systematic action; to bring under control so as to act systematically; to train to act together under orders; to teach subordination to; to form a habit of obedience in; to drill.
  • transitive verb To improve by corrective and penal methods; to chastise; to correct.
  • transitive verb To inflict ecclesiastical censures and penalties upon.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A controlled behaviour; self-control
  • noun An enforced compliance or control
  • noun A systematic method of obtaining obedience
  • noun A state of order based on submission to authority
  • noun A punishment to train or maintain control
  • noun A set of rules regulating behaviour
  • noun A flagellation as a means of obtaining sexual gratification
  • noun A specific branch of knowledge or learning
  • noun A category in which a certain art, sport or other activity belongs, or a sub-category of said activity.
  • verb transitive To train someone by instruction and practice.
  • verb transitive To teach someone to obey authority.
  • verb transitive To punish someone in order to (re)gain control.
  • verb transitive To impose order on someone.


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English, from Old French descepline, from Latin disciplīna, from discipulus, pupil; see disciple.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English, from Old English, from Old French descipline, from Latin disciplina ("instruction") and discipulus ("pupil"), from discere ("to learn"), from Proto-Indo-European *dek- (“(cause to) accept”).


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  • The Depression and World War II delayed the mechanization of the farms here, and one of the first disciplines imposed on me was that of a teamster. Wendell Berry "A Native Hill"

    July 19, 2008